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  1. #1
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    Life in the Village - 99 - Buying Land

    Life in the Village - 99 - Buying Land

    Weíre looking to buy some land, whether rice, jungle or residential, as long as itís within the village. The farang promo is not an issue, within reason, because itís spare dosh and as far as Iím concerned dead money for me anyway, but a bit more security for Kimís future over the long haul, so the extra 50k or 100k is not an issue.

    The land we bought earlier in the year was a one off, someone needed cash real quick, it was ATMed within the hour and the papers signed the same evening, so everything fell neatly into place, but as I said that was a one off, and the owners of several parcels of vacant to partly used land in and around the village do not want to sell at any price, because their land is for their kids.

    Insight: Itís a big thing out here for parents to struggle as they do, and deprive themselves if need be, so they can pass their land on to the next generation. Thatís how the land came to them, and they feel it is their duty to follow the tradition. A commendable belief, though it doesnít address the reality of an ever growing local population.

    Most families have more than one child, and each of them is likely to produce more than one other, so within a single lifetime a large spread must end up as many smaller plots. It is happening right now, and the village is teeming with kids, though I wouldnít bet that anyone has noticed.

    In one case I know of, an enormous spread passed along by some great grandfather has been whittled down to dozens of unremarkable plots owned by dozens of his children to great grandchildren. Some of the plot owners may be wondering how theyíre going to pass on enough land to meet the needs of their own children, though I doubt any are open to how their grandchildren are going to fare under the same regime.


    Anyway, next door to maís place is an elderly couple, too old to care for their property which is dilapidated, overgrown and going to pot. Theyíre scratching their way through their final years, with 3 adult kids and several grandkids that have left the village and return for little more than an occasional visit.

    Naturally I cannot approach the ageing ones, and so put it to ma, through Kim, that she have a chat. Conversation went something like this, me in the hammock, ma chopping away at some chicken, and Kim in the middle relaying both ways.

    No, they donít want to sell.

    How do you know?

    Nobody sells land.

    But we bought land a few months ago.

    That was different, they wanted to sell.

    <sigh> Can you ask her anyway?

    No, she wonít sell...yak yak...turns out neighbour told her about 4 years ago she was thinking to sell and move in with one of her city kids. Seems he was doing well at the time, but had since closed shop and gone skint.

    So why didnít she sell?

    Nobody wanted to buy.

    We want to buy.

    Now she doesnít want to sell.

    Did she tell you that?

    No.

    So how do you know?

    I know.

    Did you ask her?

    No, she doesnít talk to me. She doesnít talk to anyone.

    Ok, letís try this, you ask her, and IF she says no then ok, end of story, and no harm done...I figured could be one of their kids may decide to return at some time in the future, or maybe they just want to keep that option open. Fair enough. Fair also if they want to pass the property down to their kids, letting them decide what to do with it. Any other reason for them not wanting to sell is also good enough, but I figured one obvious reservation would be that if they did sell theyíd have nowhere to stay. I was prepared for this, with a cunning plan.

    <yak yak> Kim tells me ma doesnít know how to go about it. To me, this implied she would if she knew how to, so that was a good start in the right direction. I suggested she go over on some pretext, bring up the subject of her kids, then the property, and take it from there.

    No.

    Why?

    Sheíll say no.

    Ok, let her say no.

    <chuckle> Anyway, Where will they go?

    Ok, this is our offer...Kim will buy the land from them with cash up front, and they can stay there for the rest of their lives, free, and without any interference, as though it is still their land.

    Ma looked across at me from her food prep, then at Kim as though asking what are you doing with this guy, said something and shook her head with a hearty laugh. Kim shrugged a glum Ďno wayí.

    Why not?

    Why would you do that?

    I explained that Iím thinking long term with no immediate need for the land or the odd bunch of bananas that comes off it, and even if Iím not around then, whether itís ten or bless the codgers 20 years before the land reverts to Kim, the offer neatly overcomes resistance based on the need for a place to stay. I didnít feel the need to mention that our offer is a paper thing, giving them ready cash to enjoy their final years or to give to their kids, in return for their land when theyíre finished with it, and without disrupting their lives.

    <pause, yak yak> You canít do that. Itís not done that way.

    Ok but thatís our offer.

    Canít be...canít let them live there if we buy it, and not free.

    If we buy it itís ours, so this means we can do anything we want with it, yes?

    Yes.

    Ok, so we want to let them stay there free, for the rest of their lives.

    <headshake> Not possible.

    <frustration brewing> But otherwise they canít sell even if they want to, because then theyíll have nowhere to live.

    Yes.

    <pause> Ok...tell her you want to buy, with the same offer, and if she says no then at least she has it in her head that you want to buy, and MAYBE one day IF she thinks about selling, she will know you are interested and come to you first. Important thing is to put it into her head Ė even if you know she will say no.

    Why let her know we want to buy if she doesnít want to sell?

    Isnít that how we ended up with the other land, because you spread the word that we are looking to buy?

    Yes.

    Ok, will you at least talk with her?

    No.


    Couple of days later, ma tells Kim she had talked with the neighbour.

    What did she say?

    She doesnít want to sell, see, I told you!

    Did you tell her about our offer that they can stay there free and for life?

    No.

    Why not?

    She wonít believe.

  2. #2
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    It's like banging your head against a wall!

  3. #3
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    feels great when you stop

  4. #4
    Love Thailand Carnwadrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keda
    pause, yak yak> You can’t do that. It’s not done that way. Ok but that’s our offer. Can’t be...can’t let them live there if we buy it, and not free.
    I had similar talk with my wife about a property belonging to her aunt..my wife is one of the most generous people I know..but buy the property and let the seller live there free..no way !!! it's cultural "it's not done that way"...why not charge them 100baht month rent. save face

  5. #5
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    good idea, tx will consider it...otoh the house i'm in was originally offered free, but i'd rather pay now than later so to ma's utter consternation we counter offered 100 a day all in, which they clarified when accepting, and then caused bitter vibes at the end of the first month by expecting us to also pay the 500 baht electricity bill...go figure!

  6. #6
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    The old wooden dump we bought in Sattihip is being attacked by termites. That doesn't matter too much as we only bought it for the price of the land and plan on tearing it down to rebuild anyway.

    When we bought it, it had tenants of an old lady and her 6 grand-kids she was caring for. They were behind in the rent of 4,000 baht a month, but at least were taking care of the place and regularly spraying the termite tracks on the stumps.

    I said just leave them there and get what rent they could out of them (which would go to the the wife's daughter as chief property caretaker).
    So what did they do? Kicked the old girl and her kids out and the place has been left to the ravages of the weather and the termites since. What value there might have been in the timber is probably gone now and if the place blows over in a storm onto the neighbours property we will be up for damages. Oh, but they did have a Mango tree in the front yard removed for 10,000 baht in case it damaged the worthless house structure!

    The wife and daughter in law flatly refused to take any advice from me, undoubtedly because as Thais they know better than stupid Farangs.

    Is it any wonder Thailand is still basically a third world country.

  7. #7
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    Maybe they scared of squatters rights.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nawty View Post
    Maybe they scared of squatters rights.
    Being behind in the rent doesn't give you squatters rights, but now that the place is abandoned it opens up a new possibility.

  9. #9
    I am in Jail

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    The way to do this is to "lend" them money you know they won't be able to pay back, and take the land title as "security".

    The loan will "mature" when both of them have passed away. Have the pooyaiban "guarantee" the deal.

  10. #10
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    You're thinking of that turd Rachman not me, just couldn't.

  11. #11
    I am in Jail

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    Rachman???

    Many have their land titles deposited at the bank as collateral, similar sort of thing, they don't actually "sell" the land and "save face" that way. Except the banks do on occasion possess and evict when the accumulated interest exceeds the property value or no attempts at repayment are made.

    When you do this, you cannot claim interest, and there would be the "wild card" in form of the heirs, they might come up with the sum on the off-chance, so make sure it is high.

  12. #12
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    could make it higher than market value and not their while rounding up the bahts, but the difficult bit would be conveying that to ma - and via the mrs...no, can't, really.

  13. #13
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    Would a 30 year lease work?
    I think they expire on death of the leasee. Could be wrong though.

  14. #14
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    The major hurdle seems to be not the method or instrument, which can be designed once the principle is agreed, but communication!

    Must be terrible to be in the National and fall at the first .

  15. #15
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    Don't think he even got out the gate with all the No's and 'cannots'.

  16. #16
    ding ding ding
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    Its best not to go live in the village if your IQ is over 50. It can take years off your life.

  17. #17
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    So I guess Tud will be moving to one soon and BlackGang is already in one.

  18. #18
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    Just do it the Thai way.

    TELL the missus what to do and if she says 'no', slap her about until she agrees that you know best.

    Bladdy newbies...

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    Bloody ell Wish I had that problem

    Quote Originally Posted by keda View Post
    feels great when you stop
    Every time we talk to mum or aunty theres another piece of land been discovered for me to buy

    I must have sakhon nakhon airport surrounded now travellers will have to pay me a toll to get in and out

    And trying not to think about the exmarital shack in Dong mafai mrs has just bought off the ex husband if she thinks I'm waking up every morning to the frantic squealing of pigs being gutted alive she has another think coming. Although there is the consolation of seeing all he lovely village ladies walking round with next to nowt on

    Still, its her money, to be fair she never asks me for a penny for any of these ventures

  20. #20
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    Know it dosn`t apply here and is slightly off topic but this tale brings a smile to my face.
    Several years ago a French lawyer offerd to pay an old dear x amount of Francs per annum in return for her property when her time was up. Nothing altuistic about his motives.
    She lived till the ripe old age of 120 ,bless her,lawyer paid 4 times what the property was worth.

  21. #21
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    If land ownership was the road to riches everyone in Issaan would be wealthy --mostly its a way to borrow money at ridiculous rates of interest and secure continuing poverty --sell land and lend money seems to be the answer

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by donald36 View Post
    If land ownership was the road to riches everyone in Issaan would be wealthy --mostly its a way to borrow money at ridiculous rates of interest and secure continuing poverty --sell land and lend money seems to be the answer
    The value of land depends on what you can do with it in the way of producing a financial return on your outlay. Most of Issarn is not well suited to rice farming and so returns are very low.

  23. #23
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    What is it with the "Thai Way" anyway ? Is it that the parents and school teachers teach the kids illogical and nonsensical ways to approach life ? Or are we really deluding ourselves ? Is their way really more sensible and us Farangs are really the ones who continually get it wrong ?
    The Thais will screw something up in a way that 12 Rhodes Scolars could not predict in a day of brainstorming.

  24. #24
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    Panda: It's not just the quality of the land, because most of it though not the best can still be used productively for something or other. It's the mindset, which takes a bit of getting used to. More than once I asked owners of arable land that's reverting to jungle why they don't use it to produce something, and the answer is invariably no answer. Could be cost or time or effort, but often they can't be bothered or because the land is for their kids, as one said, which is as ridiculous.

    The guy I tried to buy thickly overgrown land from directly opposite ma's place, it didn't work out but then I asked, to Kim's chagrin, why he doesn't at least give his cows a good feed, instead of walking them past his 3 rai plot in search of green...he shook his head and laughed, but a few days later he had a couple in there, and since then his herd of 20+ have been greedily grazing as he relaxed smugly in the hammock, having been spared the 4km walk each way onto government land. Two weeks gone and they're there every day, with lots more green to get through.

    I think sometimes they don't see the obvious.

    See the relevant instalment of LitV, how we conspired and finally overcame parental resistance to change in their own plot. Sure it cost, but money was not an issue.

  25. #25
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    I do understand where you are coming from Keda. My own Thai in laws are lucky to be wealthy enough to get out of rice farming and most have headed to the city for better paying work. My Lao/Thai nephew is now the only one who works the farm. He grows just enough rice for the family and has branched out into other crops like sugar cane, bananas and beans. Still when the floods come (as they do every few years) the farm looses everything he worked for.

    Not sure how well cattle work out as economical use of the land. Perhaps with improved pastures of selected grasses it could become more viable as a primary land use?

    My Lao/Thai nephew (hes about 45) has made good use of government loans and bought one of those single cylinder farm trucks. He also has bought a mechanical rice thrashing machine and makes extra money thrashing rice for the local farmers. With the rice husks he raises pigs for family consumption and sale. And when its too wet to work on the farm he picks up some work as a builders labourer in the district. He is a real hard worker, but the brains of the outfit comes from his wife who is my wife's blood niece. The family is not your typical Thai peasant class. Their bloodline comes from the Chinese. Grandma, who passed away about 8 years ago at the age of 96, was full blood Chinese despite being 4th generation Thai. She was a shrewd business woman and the local loan shark among other things such as running a whiskey still and paying off the cops.

    So, my Thai family in Chaiyaphum are not among the very poor and at least have some business sense. Its interesting that while the family centre is still based in Chaiyaphum, all adult workers but the least educated Lao/Thai nephew of mine have abandoned the land for better paying work in the city and only come home on special occasions. Even the 77 year old brother of my wife who used to run the farm is now working in Bangkok as a security guard, -- I kid you not!

    So yea, there may be better and more productive ways to put the land to use in Issarn, but it takes imagination, education and initiative which is something the Thais generally lack.

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